bison vs. bear
YouTube: Michael Daus

Grizzly Bear Attacks, Kills Bison in Yellowstone as Visitor Rolls Camera

Everyone who visits Yellowstone National Park, especially these days, considers themselves an amateur photographer. They've all got a high quality camera attached to the phone in their pocket, and any instance of wildlife needs to be captured.

When a single grizzly bear 200 yards off the side of the road can be enough to stop traffic, then an interaction between a young bear and a young bison is definitely going to get noticed.

That was the case for Michael Daus, who was enjoying a day in Yellowstone with his family and came across this scene. In what ends up being a five-minute filmed ordeal, the bear and bison go at it, fighting mere feet from parked cars, crossing a bridge, and eventually splashing into a river.

Daus allowed the video to be used and published by Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures, who added some interesting and educational commentary to the clip.

Grizzly Bear versus Bison Filmed at Yellowstone National Park

The incident took place near the Grand Prismatic Overlook trail, which is a particularly popular, and therefore typically crowded, part of Yellowstone Park.

This snippet, taken from the YouTube caption Daus added to the video, gives some more context:

"We knew the bear was in the area, as we saw it near the road, less than a mile before turning into the parking lot for the grand Prismatic Overlook hike. While there was a steady flow of walkers, we carried bear spray and remained on the lookout for the bear the entire time.

"We weren't crazy about returning to find the bear so close, just beyond the opposite side of the small parking area. We didn't even see it until we were at our vehicle. I was particularly relieved that the bear seemed more interested in the bison, so while very close to the car, we simply maintained what felt like a safe distance.

"Having lived nearby for decades not minutes, we certainly don't want our actions or the appearance of our proximity to the animals to set any kind of bad example about approaching wildlife. The camera on this phone boasts a pretty amazing lens and zoom capabilities. So I was able to get all the shots from further than it may appear. The kids enjoyed watching safely from the sunroof of the car. Thanks for the concern, just the same."

A fight of this magnitude, between two wild animals so revered across the United States and the rest of North America, made it that much more special to capture via video. And honestly, it's also special because there aren't 40 alternate angles shot and uploaded to the internet from the crowd that would have certainly been gathered if it were peak season.

In fact, for those who've visited Yellowstone and are familiar with the area, like our own Travis Smola, this clip came as a shock.

"I've been there a bunch of times, it's one of the busiest parts of the park," Smola said when he saw the video. "I can't believe there weren't 2,000 people there watching this unfold."

Yellowstone grizzly bears have been known to prey on bison, as well as elk calves or other ungulates. Yellowstone's wolf and bear populations are the bison's only large predators in the Park.